Not for the first time am I glad I got calluses on my wrists from all the times they have been bound behind my back. Tightly. And with very coarse rope. Otherwise, I'd a-been even more sore and sorry than I already am. Course I'd love to say that fell with grace but my aching ankle and side can testify against that claim. That o'course is mighty embarrassing since I slipped myself up on my choices. As for them calluses, it not like I get caught too often mind you. Quite like right now, I every so often find me-self a reason to be caught on purpose. Today, I am saving my boy, Jimmy from the jailhouse, but I got get in before we hightail it out.

"Oh, you dun-nit this time, boy," said the guard called Roderick. I picked up on a few of their names after years of not running fast enough. I couldn't help it I was short and they could tag-team whereas I only had myself. The guards are, to my best luck, pretty dim. They continue to falsely believe that I am a boy. I am completely fine with that because many the men at the barracks and jailhouse would probably take advantage of me otherwise.

I'm a smart cover my face with a beaten cloth and hide my already short hair in a gentleman's hat and bind my, luckily, small but too small mind you breasts tightly to my chest with gauze. Layers of clothing and gloves for my feminine hands help too. But that isn't necessarily why I wear said gloves. A good thief should always wear gloves, mainly because in the part of town I am from you would never want your bare skin touching the loot. Magic, nasty stuff in the east end.

Roderick shoved hard for not responding. I stumbled but I tucked my chin and curved my back just right so I rolled over perfectly, except for having to rollover my already sore, bound hands and felt a hard discomfort on my spine. My side did a bit of complaining too. I jolted to my feet as fast as I could without use of my hands and was off. This didn't last more then a second before I blindly rammed into a tall warm bulk of firm flesh. My hat only remained on my head because I had pinned there firmly. Arms clutched tightly around me

"Quite the little troublemaker," vibrated the chest shoved against my face. "I see now what all the men were talking about when they said you bringing in the Thorn. Quite wild for a shadow aren't you." The man trust me back to have a look at me, his hands never loosed their grip on my shoulders. He had a handsome young face. Dark reflection eyes, sloppy brown hair, a pale scar paint across his left cheek. I got quite a bit a respect for scars. Scars equal stories.

"You are still new to this, Lieutenant Wick. That little squirt can cause a mess of trouble. See that he is locked up tight and guarded most of the time." Roderick commanded. He patted what I assumed to be my personal jailer and prison guard on the back and shoved me one last time. My masked-covered face slams one again against into that warm chest.

"Yes, sir."

"Oh, and Sebastian the palace's decision whether to execute or cut off the hand of Thorn here will be in your hands within the hour." What!? I am used to having my hands on the line mind you but neck is a different subject. King Benedict's no saint though with all the paintings of him in temples one might be confused, but why go through the trouble of executing a thief when the executioner's ax is busy killing off the witches and warlocks. Unless...

The metal door of my new residence was swung open in front of me. Well, when in the bloody day did I end up here? I guess we was walking while I was to deep in thought. I'm surprised he lead me in instead of just tossin' me like the others. Not that I take a liken to tossing's mind you.

"You know, I have heard a great deal about you up in the palace-keep," the new guard says to me out of the blue. I have the thought he's goin' to be wanted an answer but don't you be thinkin' I about to give 'im one. He sighs knowing that I ain't talkin' and continues his blab anyway. "The whole royal has there own tales starring you," I smirk a bit at that. "The shadow in the night that can't seem to be kept caught, the little thief that keeps every noble in Palace City nervous about their purses, the temple torch, the hero the magicians," he pauses as if in thought. But all I can think is that I was seen saving the prisoners. That is why they want me dead.

"I respect you quite a great deal for all the good you have done." That makes me look up. The man's serious. I stare at 'im dumbfounded for a minute. Royal guards don't often agree with my... little projects. I was tempted to say somethin' but the bloody door just banged open and ten guards come walking right in. Wait, that one in the middle ain't any guard. His clothes are so nice I'd almost say he's...

"Prince Lysander, your highness." Great. I keep my head faced down like it was but I'll be hung by my toes before I bow to that rot-heart like my new Lieutenant friend is doing. Princely doesn't seem to like that too much cause next thing I know he's got me by the collar and my face is a hand away from his. Now the other girls been sayin' this charmer's a catch but find nothin' pretty with what I see. He's got them eyes with that evil glint in them, green as the emerald on his petty rings I tell ya. Bulbous nose, clean shaven prominent chin, crazy coal-colored hair, nothin' but ugly that nasty king-kisser is. That's a lie. The boy's might have a good mug but that don't mean I like it mind you.

"This rat is the one I saw freeing those monsters," The rot-heart tells his men after havin' his lookin' at me. "Have the rat washed and brought to the dungeons of the palace immediately. I want him to look decent when I make an example of him tomorrow."

"Yes, your highness. Is that all that is needed of me?" The guard who brought me in asks. The prince barely nods before bounding from the room.